We had a good night’s sleep, or at least until local new year celebrations started around 0600 with fireworks and chantings, but with good earplugs it was easy to fall asleep again. We had a lovely breakfast, with some extra cookies since it was New Years.
Today we would take the slightly longer trek to Ella Rock and sat out at 1030 or so. We had some printed basic description on how to get there but would likely need assistance or a fair amount of luck to get the whole way. We started walking on the railroad tracks, something that normally is a really bad idea but here seem to be the norm and also much less dangerous given the speed of the trains just barely beating a tuk-tuk in traffic.We passed a quaint little train station that looked in great shape for being abandoned, turns out the reason was that it wasn’t abounded but fully operational and the fact that timetable was printed on wood and a sign limited speeds to 15km/h just made it seem like a relic from the past.
A friendly local pointed out which path we should go from the tracks and we kept on walking, asking another girl in the next junction. While enjoying the scenery the first local passed us now quite confused and explained we were on the wrong path and would show us the right one. We kept on walking for quite a while and there was no way we could have gotten their without help, and most of the foreigners we met had done the same. We gave our local guide 500 LKR (2.5 EUR), which was the standard rate, for his help once we were on the last stretch to thank him for his help.
The last part was not without a challenge, and we took some brief pauses until we reached Ella Rock, and by know the sun had really broken through the clouds and evaporated the misty clouds. The sight was breathtaking and we had a picnic on cookies and mango before heading back home. The return was much easier to find and we thought that we would drop off some things at the guesthouse and then book massage before having a late lunch.We checked out the Ayurvedic spa Suwamadura but decided it was past it’s prime in service and offerings so we went to Dream Café in order to have lunch. It was New Year’s Day after all, so we went for a traditional pizza (they lacked kebab pizzas though) which was surprisingly good, crisp with fresh vegetables and tasted great!We got back to our room and instead of the massage had a long warm nice shower and snuggled into our beds reading and slacking until dinner. The home-made Sri Lankan dinner was just like the day before nice and more than filling. The day was concluded after some more reading so it turned out to be yet another early night.
Sleeping next to the main road wasn’t ideal, but we felt we were in a way better position to solve our accommodation situation as well as figuring out what to do next. A few calls later and the situation had improved significantly. Hilltop Guest house, which we tried to book in the first place had a no-show and could offer us a double room 🙂 It was located 300m from Dream Cafe so a quick walk and we were there and could take in the magnificent view from their restaurant and roof top.
We took the opportunity to have some laundry done, and I didn’t have to state nothing should be tumbled since the washing machine consisted of a flat rock with a bar of soap. I took my chances with the exercising clothing but decided that I’d save one of my favorite Eton shirts for another laundry service. After settling in and taking the potential rainfall in consideration we figured a shorter trek today would be ideal.
After a nice lunch at Curd Shop in the centre we headed off. The trek is really light, thus one can make it a little more exciting by, as we did, ignoring the stairs and continue with the path winding up the hill until it disappears and one must trod a new one. The view was really nice, and we thought that if we had been a larger group the fancy 98 acres hotel nearby could have been an option with amazing views as well as quite nice gym.
At the top we snapped a few pictures and I walked around and was quite surprised to find myself a few meters away from a cow, who apparently liked the scenery as well as the grass. A short break with freshly cut up mangos and we started our decent. On the way back it started to drizzle lightly and we enjoyed afternoon tea and some cake along the road.
We got back to our hotel just in time to avoid the rain and slacked for an hour or two until the dinner we had booked at our guesthouse. I called a colleague at Netlight to discuss my first assignment and it sounds like I will start the very first day at
a customer, which feels great. Shortly after the power, and thus wifi, died but soon a generator got lights back.
Lights and power were still intermittent during the dinner but our portable speaker playing Melody Gardot and live candles complemented the nice curries really well. After the last round of desert we took a stroll down to the centre and had a drink at Chill who was surprisingly hip and nice, which partly explained why the two drinks were about the same price as our complete dinner. Unfortunately the gate closed at 22:00 so we had to get back home by then, or rather we stopped the proprietor from explaining how to enter afterwards explaining we were old and sleepy people. The end of the year was spent reading together in our cosy room hearing raindrops on the metal roof, a splendid finish and I hope 2014 will bring as many good memories as 2013.